Close this search box.

Grumman Duck

The Grumman J2F Duck (company designation G-15) is an American single-engine amphibious biplane.

It was used by each major branch of the U.S. armed forces from the mid-1930s until just after World War II, primarily for utility and air-sea rescue duties.

It was also used by the Argentine Navy, who took delivery of their first example in 1937.

The J2F was an equal-span single-bay biplane with a large monocoque central float which also housed the retractable main landing gear, a similar design to the Leroy Grumman-designed landing gear first used for Grover Loening’s early amphibious biplane designs, and later adopted for the Grumman FF fighter biplane.

The aircraft had strut-mounted stabilizer floats beneath each lower wing.

A crew of two or three were carried in tandem cockpits, forward for the pilot and rear for an observer with room for a radio operator if required.

It had a cabin in the fuselage for two passengers or a stretcher.

The Duck’s main pontoon was blended into the fuselage, making it almost a flying boat despite its similarity to a conventional landplane which has been float-equipped.

This configuration was shared with the earlier Loening OL, Grumman having acquired the rights to Loening’s hull, float, and undercarriage designs. 

Like the F4F Wildcat, its narrow-tracked landing gear was hand-cranked.

The J2F-1 Duck first flew on 2 April 1936, powered by a 750 hp (559 kW) Wright R-1820 Cyclone, and was delivered to the U.S. Navy on the same day.

The J2F-2 had an uprated Wright Cyclone engine of 790 hp (589 kW).

Twenty J2F-3 variants were built in 1939 for use by the Navy as executive transports with plush interiors.

Due to pressure of work following the United States entry into the war in 1941, production of the J2F Duck was transferred to the Columbia Aircraft Corp of New York.

They produced 330 aircraft for the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard.

If standard Navy nomenclature practice had been followed, these would have been designated JL-1s, but it was not, and all Columbia-produced airframes were delivered as J2F-6s.

Several surplus Navy Ducks were converted for use by the United States Air Force in the air-sea rescue role as the OA-12 in 1948.



Initial production version with 750 hp R-1820-20 engines.


United States Marine Corps version with nose and dorsal guns and under wing bomb racks.


As J2F-2 with minor changes for use in the United States Virgin Islands.


J2F-2 but powered by an 850 hp R-1820-26 engine.


J2F-2 but powered by an 850 hp R-1820-30 engine and fitted with target towing equipment.


J2F-2 but powered by a 1,050 hp R-1820-54 engine.


Columbia Aircraft built version of the J2F-5 with a 1,050 hp R-1820-64 engine in a long-chord cowling, fitted with under wing bomb racks and provision for target towing gear.


Air-sea rescue conversion for the United States Army Air Forces (and later United States Air Force, OA-12A).





2 survivors / passengers


34 ft 0 in (10.36 m)


39 ft 0 in (11.89 m)


13 ft 11 in (4.24 m)

Wing area

409 sq ft (38.0 m2)


Clark CHY

Empty weight

5,480 lb (2,486 kg)

Gross weight

7,700 lb (3,493 kg)


1 × Wright R-1820-54 Cyclone,

9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine,

900 hp (670 kW)


3-bladed constant-speed propeller


Maximum speed

190 mph (310 km/h, 170 kn)

Cruise speed

155 mph (249 km/h, 135 kn)

Stall speed

70 mph (110 km/h, 61 kn)


780 mi (1,260 km, 680 nmi)

Service ceiling

20,000 ft (6,100 m)



1 × Browning .30 cal machine gun (7.62 mm) on flexible mount in rear cockpit


650 lb (295 kg) of bombs or depth charges.




Share on facebook